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Planet Of The Dead – Pilgrims

Planet Of The Dead
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 16 August 2021, 6:44 AM

PLANET OF THE DEAD is a sludge/doom band that formed in 2018.  Their latest album, “Pilgrims” is their second full length album. The idea of the band is great: sci fi themed doom that crushes.  How does it translate to the listener?  Quite well.  Their overall sound is slow to mid paced doom wrapped up in thunderous sludge.  Mark’s vocals are straight up sludge, a style that is somewhere between a rough clean and a death growl.  The rhythm section is solid as a really solid thing; Hengst is huge and fuzz drenched as it should be and Josh’s drums are very complimentary to the band’s overall sound.

There are some slight issues with the album’s sound. For me, it sounds a little too clean for this style and takes away some of the bite from Maclom’s excellent riffs.  The snare could also me mixed higher as well. Musically, the album is simple and straight forward and that isn’t a bad thing.  The band makes it work for them and they are pretty good song writers so their laser focus on bring sci fi themed doom/sludge doesn’t need to be overly complicated.

The first song, from the subject matter of the Dune universe, is “Gom Jabbar.”  It sets the tone the rest the album follows.  Big riffs carve out a groovy cadence while the fuzzed out bass keeps that important doom low end going. At the 3:15 mark, the band dig deeps and the song throws itself into the heavy reaches of space. “Pilgrim,” makes it known the band is comfortable with also having a stoner vibe.  Stoned in space?  Sure, why not!  The bass holds up the bulk of the song, a large black groove that propels it all.  There are hints of melody in the vocals and the guitars and I liked it, goes well with the stoner vibe.  At the 2:48 mark, the crushing doom riffs and stomping bass would make even an asteroid impact pale in comparison.

Escape From Smith’s Grove,” is one of the heaviest songs on the album.  The low vocals and bass and thick as hell guitar riffs turn the song into a dense black hole that sucks up in and all light around it.  The tempo near the end of the song boosts it up into a near frenzy—loved it! “The Great Wave,” is the final and longest track on the album. It is absolutely massive…they really saved the best for last and pulled all the stops.  The riffs have this slow groove that just grabs hold of you.  Soon as it lets ago, you land on the bass and bounce off that and hit the drums and vocals.  The song just does a great job in pulling the listener to each individual element of the song while still encompassing them as a whole.

PLANET OF THE DEAD’sPilgrims,” is a solid doom/sludge album with excellent musicianship and subject matter.  If you want a no frills approach to the almighty riff and all that comes with that, look no further.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Gom Jabbar
2. Pilgrim
3. Nostromo
4. The Sprawl
5. Escape from Smith's Grove
6. Directive IV
7. The Cursed Earth
8. The Great Wave
Kees Hengst - Bass
Josh Hussey- Drums
Malcolm McKenzie - Guitars
Mark Mundell - Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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